Senior Airman Christopher Gallup from the 36th Security Forces Squadron administers first aid to a role player during an active shooter exercise at Andersen Air Force Base, Jan. 12. The exercise tested first responders as well as medical group personnel on their response in the event of an active shooter. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jeffrey Schultze)
Airmen from the 36th Security Forces Squadron subdue an assailant and secure the 36th Medical Group building during an active shooter exercise at Andersen Air Force Base, Jan. 12. The exercise tested first responders as well as medical group personnel on their response in the event of an active shooter. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jeffrey Schultze)
1/12/2011 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam - -- Exercise evaluators looked on as the sound of gunfire ripped through the halls and the casualty count climbed during an active-shooter scenario at the 36th Medical Group here Jan. 12.
The ability of Andersen Airmen to subdue an assailant, care for injured personnel and transport them to a secure location was put to the test when a roll-player simulated opening fire on clinic patrons.
"Although we cannot always anticipate the lack of regard some may have for human life, the emergency responders involved in this exercise are dedicated to protecting our most precious resources and restoring order as quickly as possible," said Capt. Paul Nelson, 36 MDG exercise evaluation team chief.
36th Security Forces Squadron Airmen entered the building on high-alert and proceeded toward the shooter. After communication attempts failed, the Airmen neutralized the threat and secured the building.
Once given the go-ahead, those in need of medical attention were treated and transported to safety by 36th Civil Engineer Squadron fire rescue teams who were standing by.
"We have been conducting large-scale emergency response exercises, but we hadn't practiced an active-shooter scenario yet," said Stanley Torres, fire department assistant training chief. "In today's society, situations like this are becoming common; we practice so we'll know what to do if the real thing ever happens."
When the dust settled and the sirens faded, all simulated injured Airmen were cared for and taken to safety. The exercise was a success.
"Exercising our active shooter contingency plan keeps our swift, coordinated response razor sharp," Captain Nelson said. "Our ability to respond in this manner serves as a deterrent and directly contributes to minimizing human suffering and loss should such an event take place."
Though the scenario was executed with precision, it will not be the last. As part of a tireless effort to improve readiness and effectiveness, Airmen will be pushed to excellence.
"Now that we have done the active-shooter exercise, we know what areas we need to work on in the future," Torres said. "It gives us something to work on, both individually and as a team."
Captain Nelson remains confident in the skills of Team Andersen Airmen and their motivation to accomplish the mission.
"From the 36 SFS, to fire rescue, to the men and women of the 36 MDG, we are 'Prepared to Prevail,'" he said.